wow my last ride was back in June last year. Camping, well I managed a few nights in the van, mainly to get away from the fireworks as Tilley is utterly petrified of the boomboomflash in the sky.
So the urge to get out there and do something was in need of a feeding. Early this week I saw that the weather would be good over the weekend. I hinted my plan to Peli and we got nattering about what we would like to do this year. After a few clickies, reviews read and options weighed – we had a new tent* coming our way, which arrived Friday afternoon. This new tent just had to be tested out, and what better way than a spot of wild camping with the dog? Saturday afternoon I packed up the backpack, packed the yummy nomnom that Peli** had cooked, chucked it in the van and set off with about an hour’s light to go.
First potential site – researched by memory, maps and Google Satellite view – turned out to be a good spot but also frequented by cows, so it was a muddy cowpatty pit. While walking up to second spot, I saw a third option, but both these spots had cows roaming around. I might have gone for one of these if I didn’t have Tilley with me and that the second spot was used as a toilet by humans … please pack in, pack out people !!!
While weighing up options I drove over to a backup site but saw the path leading up to it was under water. Didn’t fancy a wet and muddy Tilley in the tent. Which meant back to the first parking spot and walk to an ok-ish spot I had seen while looking at the first two. I settled on that, as it was now pitch black and I didn’t plan for much walking and hunting for a perfect spot.
New tent was dead easy to pitch even with a very helpful mutt. As soon she figures out that it is camping time she wants to get in the tent. I had tied her up outside while trying to make the bed, cruel yes but it would be impossible to do if she was in there with me. Not because the tent is smaller than what we are used to but because her helping hand = sitting just there where you are working, demanding belly rubs :)
After a quick dash up the hill to get reception, to tell HQ where we were and we were about to go to bed, light snow started. As I said Tilley loves camping I had barely opened the tent and she was in, which resulted in a dirty paw print on inner tent door. Soon as she sees the sleeping bag, she is on it and becomes “jelly lead” aka weighing a ton and so floppy she’s impossible to move so you can get into the sleeping bag!
While eating tea, I was playing some podcast and promptly fell asleep, not sure how much I heard of it when I woke up a few hours later. At bladder o’clock, the bio break was enjoyed under a very clear sky and light from the stars. The light dusting of snow made the nearby hills stand out in eerie light. I never knew that this part of Yorkshire was a under a very used flight path, so it was nearly like being back in London.
Tilley woke me up at just after 6am and I also wanted to get going again, as I knew I was hidden in the dark but in the light I wouldn’t be. Hill walkers and farmers tend not to sleep in either. I had planned to walk over to a view point to see the sunrise, but I decided not to because the light dusting of snow had become icy over night on the lime stone. Didn’t fancy doing it with a backpack, pulling dog (she is when it is new places to explore), cows around and icy under foot.
Well that was a good start to the new year, now here’s to many more camping trips to come this year.
Oh, so why did I fail, you ask? As you can see I’m not a good wild camper as I left a trace*** as you can see on the photo :)
* Full review of the tent will be written after a few more uses.
** It was sadly too cold for Peli to risk it with her asthma.
*** Leave no trace – pack in, pack out.